Most of the new generation users are not aware about BKF file and its importance as they might have never tried it but it’s surprisingly most widely used backup file format which was available in pre Windows Vista era. VHD file format takes over its completely due to limited use of backup devices like TAPE drives, but as of now almost 10% of all PCs are still running on Windows XP and some ODD 50% Windows Servers are running on Windows Server 2003 or earlier and millions of copies sold by Symantec of its famous Backup Exec Software make this information still relevant.
BKF format was designed and implemented by Microsoft in order to keep compatibility with widely used low cost backup media which is TAPE. Tape is a magnetic strip which stores data in linear fashion. Unlike HDD and SSD, tape media cannot be accessed randomly. If some data which is stored in the beginning of tape is required, then tape has to rewind all the way back to the beginning and then it will start reading. Due to low memory capacity, neither file table information be centrally stored nor in TAPE for obvious reasons. Tape format must include file and folder related information in on the go sequentially in tape data. BKF file format is compatible enough to TAPE format and has some random access information embedded in special streams which are not relevant for TAPE drives hence ignored.
Symantec Backup Exec software still involves Tape format as you might surprise that TAPE is still the cheapest storage media available per GB cost and still widely used inside organization for large and long term backup. Symantec employs compression techniques which results in much lesser BKF file size then earlier uncompressed one. BKF can be limited to specific size and after reaching that point they get split and remaining data starts saving on new BKF file or eventually TAPE. NT-Backup program is still available freely by Microsoft on its website from the following URL:
NT-Backup programs allows users to take backup of open files like PST files used by MS Outlook all the time, system state data which is constantly used by OS for its regular functionality, Exchange Server data, and SQL database data. Same is with Symantec Backup Exec which takes back up of live data which is constantly used by OS and various other programs. Same is with restoring as restoring is merely not copy file and paste into desired location but involved a lot many other activities like readjusting junction points, hard links which are virtual file links and virtual folder respectively. Alternate streams function of NTFS file system makes this rather complicated. NT-Backup and Symantec Backup Exec software are efficient enough to maintain all these while backing up and restoring information. In this process, they seek help of VSS writer. VSS writer is special subsystem of Windows which manage and implement protocol of backup and restoring process and provide interfaces to be implemented by software like Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server. Even Windows OS subsystem uses this heavily to facilitate backup and restoring of its system state. Ever though how OS Windows OS take backup of itself. VSS is the magic behind this.
Most of the time, restoring process is painless but BKF itself is a file and susceptible to all kinds of corruption which can be happened to any other file present in your system. So when it happens and corruption appears in BKF file, neither BKF files can be restored nor can important data be accessed or extracted. In such cases, recovery is the only option left which allows you extract all data out from BKF file. Full state restoring is mostly not possible because state includes a lot much information then just files and data.
So far I have not seen any recovery software which can restore system state along with full data but something is better than nothing. If you have important data and files inside BKF, then you can utilize the range of BKF Repair from SysInfoTools Software. They have many variants in this backup recovery domain. Some even decompressed, compressed streams utilized by Symantec in their Backup Exec range of software. Some supports split bkf recovery etc. you can get more information from their official site.
This article is contributed by Poonam Senwal on behalf of SysInfoTools Software. She is a professional blogger possesses a very good knowledge about window and new technology updates. Her expertise includes SEO and technical writing.